Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Reviews: Epic Tale of Greed; the Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts 1 and 2 Are at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle until Saturday. Young Reviewer MELISSA ORDAN Saw Both

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Reviews: Epic Tale of Greed; the Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts 1 and 2 Are at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle until Saturday. Young Reviewer MELISSA ORDAN Saw Both

Article excerpt

Byline: MELISSA ORDAN

PART ONE

THIS is a play of such epic proportions that it has to be played over two consecutive nights.

The first instalment tells the tale of the ickleby family, including youngsters Nicholas and Kate, whose father has died of a roken heart after becoming bankrupt.

With their grieving and destitute mother, they to their rich uncle Ralph, who they hope will offer a solution.

As with most Dickens stories, the characters all into three camps - the virtuous, the victims and the mean oppressors.

Nicholas and his sister are good but naive, and when they take the offers of employment rom their cynical uncle, they have no idea what hey have let themselves in for.

Nicholas's job as a teacher takes him to a school in Yorkshire. He is shocked to find his employers starve and beat the children, left to ot in their isolated 'boarding school' - a place here the unwanted or illegitimate children of he upper classes are hidden.

Shockingly, these 'Yorkshire schools' were a act of Victorian life, and Dickens based this story on his investigations of the scandalous ractices. Nicholas eventually makes an escape rom the school with a young crippled boy Smike, and is forced to go on the run.

At the mercy of her uncle's scheming, Kate does no better. The victim of bullying in the hat shop where she finds employment, she is also subjected to the sleazy attentions of her uncle's ich, debauched friends. Despite all the grim events, the play has a light touch, with many layful and touching moments.

It boasts some raucously funny scenes, including when the travelling Nicholas and Smike find themselves employed in a theatre, and perform in a hilariously bad adaptation of omeo and Juliet.

Longer than three hours each, these plays are still gripping, and as easy to watch and full of drama as the best soap-opera. …

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